bolt and bar the shutter, for the foul winds blow Who: Loki [Nish] and Tyr [Augustus] What: Post-maiming, Loki has a few choice words for the wounded Aesir. Where: Dreamland, a land of dreams and a place for dreams to land. When: Night of May 4th.
When Augustus went to bed, he dreamed of a tavern. Inside, it was warm and comfortable, a fire raging from within a handmade hearth. He trudged through snowdrifts, stepping onto a path which led the way to the tavern’s front door. Once situated inside, he removed a finely woven elk cloak from his shoulders, draping the slightly damp garment across the bench he sat down upon--snowflakes decorated the fur, quickly melting within the warm tavern.
A drinking mug carved from bone was brought to him within a few minutes, filled to the brim with frothy mead. He quenched his thirst, the golden liquid warming him, a voiceless comfort as he sat alone. When he rested his hands upon the wooden table, one of them was missing. Instead, a maimed stump, still in the process of scarring over, was covered carefully with a wrapped linen cloth.
It was then, in the startling moment of seeing his disfigurement, that the youngest Bernard child no longer held the reins in his dream. He was put to the side within his own mind, resting, watching, but unable to control his own actions or words.
Loki saw immediately when Tyr entered the tavern, sitting in the corner with some beautiful maiden on his arm, well into his cups for the night. He smiled when he spotted the god, his eyes immediately drifting down to the missing hand on the end of his arm, the work of his now bound son. He stood and took his mug of mead with him, ignoring the pouting of the mortal he’d been wooing as he sauntered over to the empty chair across from Tyr, sitting down without invitation. “Hello, my friend,” he greeted, a smirk firmly in place on his lips. “How have you been?” he asked with what sounded like genuine sincerity, though a slight gleam twinkled in his eye that he couldn’t completely hide. “I’ve got to hand it to you, you seem to be adapting well to your new...situation.”
He would have preferred to drink alone on this night, seeking the company of his own thoughts. But then he arrived, the man the All-Father saw fit to claim as his blood-brother. Tyr chose not to openly question Odin's decisions to his face, but that did not mean he would refrain from discussing these ordained decisions with those they concerned--regardless of Thor’s misguided love for his adopted uncle.
And so he openly bristled when Loki sat near him, a frown carving harsh, downward lines into his face. Instinctively, he pulled his wounded arm closer to his body, as if to protect himself from further damage. It still ached, the flesh endeavoring to mend itself over damaged bone and cartilage as best as it could. “I fare no worse and no better than I always have,” came Tyr’s cool reply, somber pride inflecting his words. “You seem well, Loki. Unbothered by familial drama suits you,” continued the god of justice, hiding a smirk of his own behind his mug, taking a draught of the mead.
Loki smiled, “ohh come now, Tyr,” he chided, neatly sidestepping Tyr’s comment about family drama, “surely you will have some major adjustments to make after your unfortunate...incident,” he said, making a show of trying not to look to obviously at Tyr’s missing limb. “If you ever need a hand with anything, you feel free to let me know. It’s the least I could do.” He was holding back his laughter with difficulty, but he couldn’t hide the amusement in his eyes. The gods had decided to chain his son, without listening to his own counsel on the matter, and now the gods were suffering the consequences. Well, some more than others, it seemed.
“Is it, Loki?” He narrowed his eyes, staring hard at the capricious frost giant. “I have never taken you for a community caretaker.” Nor had Tyr ever fully trusted the two-faced man across the table from him. Fenrir, well--the wolf was another story entirely. Tyr sat up straighter, focusing on keeping his voice steady and calm. “Allow me to politely decline from your offer of aid, kind though it may be. I have managed to adapt to my circumstances, as we all must at the end of the day. Surely you understand.” Whether or not his current circumstances were preferable was not up for debate; the Fates had led him down this path, and he would humbly obey their silent commands. But he would not, Tyr silently vowed, allow Loki’s words to cut him like nettles.
Loki smiled, his eyes flashing blue like shards of cracked ice. “Ohh I understand, my friend,” he said, his voice speaking of sincerity, but his features saying something completely different. “But you know how I like to have my hands in everything,” he drawled. “If you change your mind, I’d be happy to help.” He made as if to stand and leave him in peace, but then at the last minute stayed in a half crouch, leaning over the table at Tyr.
“I do have a question though, one only the god of justice can answer,” he said, his fake friendliness suddenly melting from his features. “What would you decree for, let’s say a mortal, who promised a friend that they were not being tricked by others, even though they knew absolutely that their friend was being tricked, and then allowed that same friend to be unlawfully incarcerated for something that they have not yet done, nor may ever do in the future? What would be the punishment for such a crime; committed by one friend against another?”
Did he grip his mug too tightly, did he outwardly flinch at the trickster’s words? If Tyr were asked at a later time, he may have chosen wisely to decline from answering altogether--lest he shame himself in the harrowed process of reviewing his own involuntary actions. Boldly, he fixed Loki with the hard-edged gaze of one who is unafraid to make the decisive judgment calls, and proudly bears the weight of his actions.
“I would simply say this: that if they cannot accept Fate’s decisions for their own life and the lives of others, then they have misunderstood all that has ever occurred, and will occur.” Tyr shook his head, his mind already settled. “No, Loki, I will not play your games tonight, and I won’t play them later, either. Do not ask this of me, as if you had even an inkling of compassion for your son.” Hadn’t Fenrir’s fate already been sealed before he was born? Had Loki bothered to intervene? The answer, on both accounts, was a resounding no--and Tyr knew that Loki was well aware of this fact. Neither of them existed outside of the realm of fate, and neither of them could change its course.
Loki narrowed his eyes at the god sitting before him, a dangerous smile creeping over his features. “Not all is as it seems, god of justice,” he said in a low voice. “All of our fates have been decided by the Norns yes, but it is our choices that are the details. The hows, the whys. You had a choice, Tyr, and you chose to betray him. That will not be forgotten.” The binding was meant to happen, just as the escape was also meant to happen, but the way it was done was not set in stone. All things were moveable except for the end results; Ragnarok would come, and Loki knew he would die on the battlefield, but what mattered wasn’t that he would die, but how. And why.
“Your choices led to your current…handicap,” he said viciously. “Was that decreed by fate, or was it justice for your actions?”
A wry, humorless smile crept onto his face; fewer daggers sharpened it than the readied edge present in Loki’s smile, but Tyr had never been one to leap quickly into a fight that could not easily be won. Loki’s words were harsh, but not entirely unjustified--though Tyr chose to disregard admitting this to the outsider. Instead, he shook his head, averting his gaze for the briefest moment. “I haven't decided,” he began testily, jaw tightening with the effort of holding his tongue, lest he let slip further weakness concerning the matter. “But if indeed it's retribution for my choice, then I’ve suffered enough. I paid my price, and what about you? It would seem to me that a father should know better than to meddle in his child's affairs. Particularly if he saw no need to stop his son's imprisonment. Why are you only now questioning it, Loki?”
“I have always questioned fate, Tyr,” he answered immediately, sharply. “What are we, if we don’t question, but simply accept what is? Nothing more than pieces on a board, being moved about without our will or consent.” A low growl of frustration could be heard from his throat, though not anywhere close to the sounds his son could make. “I know the way things are, but I will not just...blindly accept them. And neither should you,” he said finally, fixing his cold gaze on Tyr’s. They weren’t friends, no matter how much he toyed with the word, but part of Loki’s purpose was to create doubt. To force others to question, to test limits, to ask ‘why’. He is labeled as the god of mischief, the god of lies, but in his eyes he should be the god of freedom. The freedom to choose, to ask, to doubt. The rest of the gods...they were stuck in their roles and were happy to play their parts. But Loki...he wanted to know why those roles existed in the first place.
“Twice now you have avoided answering my question fully,” Tyr said slowly, calmly. “But I suppose it’s of no matter in the end; what’s done is done.” He tipped his empty mug over on the table to punctuate his point, a resounding clunk which joined the cacophony of other noises in the tavern. “And let’s consider for a moment that you’re right--that I only blindly accept what is to befall our kind.” An upward twitch of his mouth on one side, a smirk belying his carefully constructed image as the most judicious of the Aesir. Tyr needn’t explain out loud that he, like several others, still did not view Loki as fully part of their society. “I am in no shape to change what has happened, surely even you can see this to be truth. I can only live with the consequences. From this day forward, everything has changed--Fate or no Fate.” The matter of potential reparations was one which Tyr didn’t quite know how to breach this soon after the tumultuous binding. Uncomfortable, he covered his maimed hand with his still whole appendage, in one moment emphasizing his new reality while simultaneously attempting to stifle the throbbing pain.
“Now who doesn’t believe the fates?” Loki taunted, “or should I go tell Garm you will simply lay down your arms at Ragnarok and let him eat you?” he said with a wide predatory grin. “You are crippled, Aesir, not dead. Even the mortals learn to adapt to worse injuries than this.” The barb was meant to sting, to shame him into action. He schooled his features into that of mock concern for poor Tyr’s ‘condition.’ “If you can’t handle it, someone else will have to take your place at the great battle...perhaps Bragi will serenade the beast to death? Does he even know how to use a sword?” He laughed heartily and grabbed a mug of mead from a passing server’s hand, downing the contents in one go. He stood and was about to leave, but then he leant over Tyr’s shoulder to speak at his ear.
“Don’t worry, Tyr, perhaps the Dwarves can fashion you a new hand, like they did for Sif when she...misplaced her golden hair,” he laughed, doing a poor job of hiding his continued mirth over what he did to Thor’s wife. “She even likes her new hair better, so I hear. So really, I did her a favour…”
He curled his lip in distaste at the name of Hel’s guard keeper; simply because Tyr accepted what Fate had in store for him did not necessarily mean he liked it, regardless of the lies Loki attempted to spin around his words. The Aesir’s jaw tightened, a clenching of the mandible muscles in a continued effort to halt himself from saying what he no doubt would soon regret. Had Tyr hackles to raise, they would have reached the heavens themselves when Loki moved in closer, close enough that Tyr felt the other man’s breath against his ear. It sickened him, but he stubbornly did his best to not let his frustration show.
“No, Loki, I will meet my fate, and it’ll be with a sword in hand.” Privately, Tyr had been training himself to wield a weapon with his left hand rather than his now-missing right hand. It did not seem possible he would be out of battle for long, but the task of relearning an old skill certainly could not be proclaimed as simple. Still, he would be patient, knowing inherently that if he were to give up--as Loki suggested--he would be in a worse condition than his current state. Tension stretched across his shoulders when he next spoke, his body ignoring his mind’s requests to stay calm at all costs. His glance shifted to the side, seeing the ice-born Loki at far too close of a distance. “I know you won’t listen to me, but take care in the future not to mock my friends to my face. Tonight is a different matter; but if you’ve nothing of any worth left to say, I suggest you leave me to drink in peace.”
Loki barely suppressed a guffaw. “You’ll have a sword in one hand, anyway,” he mocked, grinning wickedly at him. “I have plenty of worth to say, the trouble is nobody seems to enjoy hearing the truth. It is the way of it, I suppose, that the way things truly are is always the most bitter herb to swallow. Even for the vaunted Aesir,” he almost purred. Then he stood, looking down at the man who somehow looked less now.
“I’ll leave you to drown your sorrows, but I’ll let you in on a secret hard-won from many many long nights of drinking: they’ll all still be there in the morning. All you’ll accomplish with this,” he gestured with one finger to Tyr’s mug he seemed to be cradling to himself like a beloved companion, “is an enormous headache on top of it all.” He smirked at him again and then left, not even sparing a backwards glance to the mortal he’d been sitting with before. She was just one in a long line of disposable pleasures, and there were always more where that came from. Feeling oddly lighthearted after the encounter with the god of justice, he set off to his own home with a smile on his face.